The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
COVID-19 has been making us cranky! It really bugs us that we can’t do, or have, many of the things to which we have grown accustomed. We miss being able to go anywhere we want anytime, without ending up in a quarantine situation. We miss our restaurants or many of the items our opened restaurants no longer carry. We miss going into any store we want at their usual hours. We miss many of our sports and the activities we used to do in person that must now be done virtually or that just are not happening anymore. We miss many of the things that we took for granted that have now been removed from our world. As a result, we are getting cranky! Many of us don’t want to be forced to wear masks. We feel like our freedom is being taken away. And we are growing cranky.
But could it be that we are just a little bit spoiled?
In Numbers 11, God’s people forgot how blessed they were for God to have led them out of the hard labor of their slavery in Egypt and became cranky. They whined and complained about how hard it was for them on their wilderness journey to the promised land. The griped and grumbled about the food God had been miraculously providing for them on a day to day basis because there was not variety. They even revised their own history and cried about how much better the food had been in Egypt.
Their lack of gratitude angered God and he punished them for being such complainers. I wish it weren’t true, but Christians often fall into this trap of forgetting the graciousness of God’s provision and becoming chronic complainers every time something doesn’t go their way.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi encouraging them to not be so cranky and for good reason. Look at what he tells them in Philippians 2:14-18:
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Followers of Jesus must always remember that we live on Christ’s grace. Grace is undeserved, but provided by God with overflowing amounts. Romans 5 tells us that God’s grace is greater than our sin. The more sin occurs, the more grace abounds.
Everyone complains, but followers of Christ need to cut it out! We need to be examples to people who have not embraced this grace so that they can see what it does for us and what it can do for them. Essentially, Paul tells us:
“Don’t be mad; be glad!”
When tempted to be cranky, we should stop and consider how much God has done for us and how much he promises to do for us if we follow him. When we can show others the difference Jesus makes in our attitudes now, not just what heaven will mean to us, they will want what we have, the joy of Christ.
COVID-19 is putting a strain on all of us. But, we need to keep the big picture of what Jesus means to us and avoid the trap of being a Cranky Christian, for Christ's sake, our own sake and for the sake of people who need what we have in Christ; the joy of the Lord.
This Sunday morning at 10:30 we will continue our 4-part series of messages from series; Thank You, Lord! Seasons of Thanksgiving with a message titled: Ingrates based on Numbers 11. I hope that you will join us and see how that ingratitude leads to negative thinking and cranking living. We will examine how that just a little dose of gratitude will correct any attitude.